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R. Jonathan Sacks on UK Riots
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Unpasteurized milk: Black market and Chalav Yisroel
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R. Amar composes Tisha Be’av lamentation
Why Atheists and Other Non-Christians Should Support the Ground Zero Cross (I disagree)
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About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

175 comments

  1. “(I disagree)”

    With the reasoning or the overall point? If the latter, once again (as with your stand on teh gays) you’ve got to face up and realize the United States isn’t what you think it is.

  2. I disagree because as an American, a New Yorker, someone who experienced 9/11 and who knows people who died there, I don’t want a cross stuck in a place of communal mourning. I find it offensive and religiously insensitive. In theory it could be done tastefully but I’m sure it will not be.

  3. Joseph Kaplan

    I don’t have a problem with p[lacing the cross in the memorial; it’s a legitimate artifact of the event. But it’s a tricky thing and will have to be handled carefully because I, and probabky others who agree with the article will have a serious problem if Christian groups begin to have prayer services, even informal ones, in front of the cross. We shall see.

  4. I’m staying out of the Kanefsky Affair for now.

  5. He did admit that your criticism about his choice of language was wrong and since you posted it originally it seems fair to post his correction.

  6. For posterity – since the original piece has been Orwelled off their site:

    Adieu to “for Thou hast not made me a woman”. R.Yosef Kanefsky
    I’ve stopped blessing God every morning for “not having made me awoman”.

    Women have come a long way in Orthodox Judaism over the past few decades, in particular in the realm of study and scholarship. But grevious inequalities and instances of maltreatment persist, because we have not yet spoken candidly about the dignity of women in our tradition. Worse, each morning we actually reinforce the inherited prejudice that holds that women possess less innate dignity than men.

    Women are still extorted routinely during divorce proceedings, as rabbinical courts urge them to forfeit various rights in exchange for her husband’s deigning to give the “get” that she needs. Simply for lack of male reproductive organs, otherwise qualified women are still barred from the rabbinate, and from many positions of communal leadership. She can be a judge, but not a dayan. A brain surgeon, but not a posek. And often she must content herself with davening in a cage in shul, from where her desire to say kaddish for a parent may or may not be tolerated. This is no way to run a religion that claims wisdom as its inheritance. But every morning in the daily blessings, we unthinkingly mouth the philosophical justification for these demeaning, arbitrary, discriminatory practices.

    As Rabbi David Avudraham explained the blessing in the 14th century, “and we say this blessing because women are not commanded to perform time-bound mitzvot. A man is likened to a worker who enters the field and plants there with permission. A woman is likened to one who enters the field without permission.”

    Or as Rabbi Yehoshua Schwab put it in the 16th century, “we say this blessing daily because the [male] Israelite soul is holier … than that of a woman’s. Although a woman is connected to mitzvot, and is of Israelite seed, her soul is not similar to the soul of a man.

    Or as Rav Kook put it in the 20th century, “and [there is] an innate difference between the soul of man, who acts, and legislates, and conquers and proclaims, and the soul of woman, who is acted upon, is legislated for, is vanquished, and proclaimed about through the actions of men. And great is the obligation of thanksgiving upon each and every man that he was not made a woman.”

    I cannot take God’s name in the context of this blessing anymore. I suspect, at this point in history, that it constitutes a Desecration of the Name, God forbid. In time-honored rabbinic tradition, “better to sit and not do”.

    We have, without doubt, come a long way toward overcoming the prejudice against and the shameful treatment of women. But most of the work is yet to be done.

  7. Abba's Rantings

    where is the text of the kinah that rav amar composed? is this a personal kinah or for public use?

  8. Wow. They deleted my comment. Nice and open-minded there, people.

  9. Wow. They deleted my comment. Nice and open-minded there, Morethodoxy.

    Gil, are you opposed to crosses in military cemeteries?

    “will have a serious problem if Christian groups begin to have prayer services, even informal ones, in front of the cross”

    Really? You’d have a problem with prayer services? Even informal ones? Wow, what is this, the Har HaBayit?

  10. Nachum: Gil, are you opposed to crosses in military cemeteries?

    On a Christian grave, no I am not opposed. On a Jewish grave, yes I am opposed.

    But that is beside the point. This is a national monument and I am an American. Why should I have the primary Christian symbol thrown in my face when I go to my country’s memorial for an event that I personally experienced?

    Abe Zelmanowitz, a wonderful heimishe Jew, stayed behind in tower 1 while people were evacuating in order to help a disabled Catholic colleague and they both perished together. And now the government is going to put a cross where Abe died? That’s the ultimate insult. I take it back. That isn’t just beside the point.

  11. Military cemeteries are national shrines, full of crosses. Why should you have to see them on the way to a Jewish grave?

    The vast majority of the people who died were Christians. It’s a Christian country. That’s A. B is, you pick your battles.

    The whole point, by the way, is that the government isn’t putting the cross there. In the view of Christians, God Himself did.

    For a while, I wondered why one arm of the cross was covered. So I looked it up. It’s not a piece of fabric; it’s the coat of a fireman (who was killed, of course) that froze into place because of the heat. That should be enough to keep the usual suspects quiet. Will it? Ha.

    Were they as loud about the fact that the memorial in Pennsylvania looked like a crescent? Were they as vociferous about the Ground Zero mosque? What do you think?

  12. Abba's Rantings

    NACHUM:

    “It’s a Christian country. That’s A.”

    really? some might wish it were a christian country, but in the meantime it is still merely a country with a christian majority

    “B is, you pick your battles.”

    of course one has to pick his battles. you’ve made aliyah (kol hakavod to you) so it’s easy for you to ignore this battle. but keep in mind that for the rest of us this is still a relevant battle.

    GIL:

    i agree with you, but do you similarly oppose when jews stick their judaism in everyone’s faces? (e.g., all those chabad lawsuits come chanukah time)
    or would you be satisfied if a jewish symbol were to be erected at ground zero?
    4) is ground zero a public or private development?

    NAHUM:

    “the United States isn’t what you think it is”

    the US is what americans make of it.
    this is 2011, not 1800

  13. Abba's Rantings

    is ground zero private or public land/development?

  14. Nachum: Military cemeteries are national shrines

    No, they are cemeteries and the crosses are for individual graves.

    The vast majority of the people who died were Christians. It’s a Christian country.

    It is NOT a Christian country and people of all religions experienced 9-11.

    B is, you pick your battles

    I agree and I’m not going to town on this. But that doesn’t mean I have to like the cross.

    Were they as loud about the fact that the memorial in Pennsylvania looked like a crescent?

    Not aware of it.

    Were they as vociferous about the Ground Zero mosque?

    There is no Ground Zero mosque. It’s ridiculously far away, about the same distance as the Agudah beis medrash near the kosher pizza store.

    Abba: i agree with you, but do you similarly oppose when jews stick their judaism in everyone’s faces?

    Yes, I oppose Chanukah menorahs on public property. I also oppose Christmas decorations in office buildings. I know they’re privately owned but the decorations are basically a “you’re not welcome here” sign.

    is ground zero a public or private development?

    Public

  15. I’m not sure what the problem is with military cemeteries. I did an unveiling at Calverton Nat’l Cemetery last winter for a fannish fellow. They just bury people in order of death there. They put crosses on the Christian gravestones, Magen David on the Jewish ones, and crescents on the Muslim ones, of which I saw a few.

  16. Joseph Kaplan

    “Really? You’d have a problem with prayer services? Even informal ones? Wow, what is this, the Har HaBayit?”
    I really do have a problem with prayer services, which by definition are exclusionary, on a national memorial on public property which is partially funded by the government, since national monuments should always be open to all; none should ever feel that they are excluded. This is aside from serious First Amendment problems. But let me note again that it is only potential prayer services that I object to. I disagree with Gil and think that the cross, a true and legitimate artifact of that horrible day, belongs in the memorial.
    “Were they as vociferous about the Ground Zero mosque?
    Huh? What does a privately funded building on private property, which will be used in conformity with all zoning and regulatory rules, have to do with what we are discussing. You do believe in private property Nachum, don’t you? Haven’t gone red on us I hope.

  17. MiMedinat HaYam

    i more object to the fact that the museum / memorial / whatever will not be mentioning the background of the group that caused the destruction. that carries p-c ness to an excessive degree.

    2. does rav amar have permission / haskama from RYE to write / publicize his kinnah?

  18. Abba's Rantings

    MMY:

    unless you are being sarcastic, why would r amar need permission from rye?

    i agree with your objection (although i would add that too often jewish isntitutions are guilty of the same with our own tragedy, e.g., the hololocaust museum in downtown manhattan.)

  19. Abba’s Rantings on August 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm
    “NACHUM:

    “It’s a Christian country. That’s A.”

    really? some might wish it were a christian country, but in the meantime it is still merely a country with a christian majority”

    The US is a Christian country -the percentage of Christians is greater than the percentage of Jews in Israel. Check Presidential proclamations they state the date and then so many years of our Independence and so many years of — —-. He is not that of readers of Hirhurim but such is the dating of US proclamations.
    Are December 25 and January 1 National Holidays-what are they celebrating? We live in a Christian country that has t toleration of minorities.

  20. Joseph Kaplan

    “The US is a Christian country.”

    What does that mean? What are its implications? Once those questions are ansdwered we can discuss whether it is or isn’t. Otherwise it’s just semantics.

  21. On whether the US is a Christian country, I learned some new things from this recent CSPAN book talk: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Fathersan (particularly from Ragosta & Fea).

  22. There is no doubt that America is NOT a ‘Christian Country’

    At the same time, to object to Christian iconagraphy is very much against America, and I’d go out and say is insulting to Americans, and America’s history.

    Forcing Christian iconagraphy on people is a different issue. (like in mandatory schools, or courts and government buildings)

  23. So in today’s kriyat hatorah, as well as in Ki Tavo, there’s a line about how, when in galut, we will worship gods of wood and stone. There’s an old drush- Geonic, I think- that this refers to living under Christian (wood cross) and Islamic (stone at Mecca) domination.

    All well and good. But what does it mean that you will “worship” them? Sure, many Jews convert. But all? I think there’s a statement being made here of awareness of being in galut. Methinks some people in blue states don’t have that awareness. L’aniyut da’ati, of course.

  24. Joseph Kaplan

    Methinks you should spare us your political analyses of drush. L’aniyut da’ati, of course.

  25. “All well and good. But what does it mean that you will “worship” them? ”

    There is no doubt that Christian and Muslim religious thought have nested themselves into certain Jewish communities. Some of the most ‘religious’ Jewish groups, resemble the surrounding religion more than they do the Talmud or Torah.

  26. MiMedinat HaYam

    abba — since you mention holocaust museums, i object to the one in washington being used for political purposes (i recall the washington museum being forced to publicly host arafat by clinton and his cronies. an out and out political use, in contravention of the purposes of a holocaust museum. though the fact it was govt sponsored means it should disassociate itself from the federal sponsorship. which, short of resignations of its key ppl at the time, it still hasnt done.)

    2. re the kinnah. i referred to the general objection of litvish charedim to add tfilot, even kinnot, to our davening. though this one, it seems, is not a tisha be’av kinnah, but rather a general kinnah. sefaradim have always done things like this (in arabic, too.) the kinnot written by non litvish, have a minor level of acceptance, but are still “chitzonim”, even among artscroll.

  27. But what does it mean that you will “worship” them? Sure, many Jews convert. But all? I think there’s a statement being made here of awareness of being in galut.

    Indeed, David Hamelech said the same about himself even though nobody would accuse him of wanting to convert…
    כי-גרשוני היום מהסתפח בנחלת ה’ לאמר לך עבד אלהים אחרים (Shmuel Alef 26:19)

    Apparently, in an idolatrous state, you are considered part of an idolatrous entity, and in many ways (i.e. taxes) you are likely to materially support idolatry.

  28. MiMedinat HaYam

    for today’s news-links — http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4106419,00.html “In the haredi sector, a man issuing the tickets cannot take a picture of a woman buying a ticket.”

  29. “is ground zero a public or private development?

    Public”

    Isn’t it a cross between public and private?

  30. “avi on August 9, 2011 at 2:13 am
    There is no doubt that America is NOT a ‘Christian Country’”

    No doubt maybe to some Jews but see eg

    http://www.firstprinciplespress.org/American_History_Restoration_Project_Archive_files/Christian%20Nation%20supreme%20Court%20citations.pdf

    BTW-one can live in a Christiqan country and have all civil rights as a Jew see eg Canada,UK etc

  31. “though the fact it was govt sponsored means it should disassociate itself from the federal sponsorship. which, short of resignations of its key ppl at the time, it still hasnt done.)”

    One can’t willy nilly separate from the Federal Government wo their agreement-see http://www.ushmm.org/research/library/faq/languages/en/06/01/96-388/
    for Federal Connection.

  32. MiMedinat HaYam

    mycroft — i didnt say it would be easy.

    but it wouldnt be too big a deal to find a congressman to introduce a separation charter.

    however, many big wig donors would prefer donating to a govt affiliated institution (a la smithsonian). so it may not be practical.

  33. “No doubt maybe to some Jews but see eg”

    Sorry Mycroft, right wing christian websites aside, the President of the United states says otherwise.

    ” In his press conference on April 6 in Turkey, President Obama explained: “One of the great strengths of the United States is … we have a very large Christian population — we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.””

    But the fact that America is not a Christian nation, doesn’t mean that crosses are verboten.

  34. Joseph Kaplan

    “No doubt maybe to some Jews but see eg

    http://www.firstprinciplespress.org/American_History_Restoration_Project_Archive_files/Christian%20Nation%20supreme%20Court%20citations.pdf

    BTW-one can live in a Christiqan country and have all civil rights as a Jew see eg Canada,UK etc”

    I’ve seen it; it’s the same case that’s always trotted out to show that we’re a christian country. So there’s some dictum in a Supreme Court case about being a “Christian Country.” So what? The critical question is: what does it mean to be a christian country? Does it mean christians have rights that others don’t? Does it mean that Christianity has rights and privileges that other religions don’t? Does it mean that christian ritual or belief have some precedence over that of other religions? Or does it mean that there are more christians in this country by far, than members of another religion? The fourth is clearly true. But show me some proof that the other 3 are or give me another definition of “christian country” that has some practical import. Otherwise, it’s a lot of words about nothing.

  35. lawrence.kaplan

    Others have addresse Mycroft’s incorrect claim that the US is a Christian country. I would like to addrees his view that non-Christian minorities are “tolerated.” I refer to George Washington’s famous letter to the Jewish congretgation at Newport. Washington, among other things, writes: “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was the indulgence of one class of people that the others enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.” I am sure that all bloggers ar familiar with letter. But it bears and repays a close and careful rereading, particularly in comparison with Moses Seixas’ letter to him. It seems to me that Seixas had Mycroft’s view of things and that Washingon tactfully corrected him.

  36. “BTW-one can live in a Christiqan country and have all civil rights as a Jew see eg Canada,UK etc”

    I’ve seen it; it’s the same case that’s always trotted out to show that we’re a christian country. So there’s some dictum in a Supreme Court case about being a “Christian Country.” So what? The critical question is: what does it mean to be a christian country?”

    Besides legal holidays commemorating Christian holy days-Sunday blue laws clearly have a Christian purpose despite the double talk of the Supremes
    “The Supreme Court of the United States held in its landmark case, McGowan v. Maryland (1961), that Maryland’s blue laws violated neither the Free Exercise Clause nor the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It approved the state’s blue law restricting commercial activities on Sunday, noting that while such laws originated to encourage attendance at Christian churches, the contemporary Maryland laws were intended to serve “to provide a uniform day of rest for all citizens” on a secular basis and to promote the secular values of “health, safety, recreation, and general well-being” through a common day of rest. That this day coincides with Christian Sabbath is not a bar to the state’s secular goals; it neither reduces its effectiveness for secular purposes nor prevents adherents of other religions from observing their own holy days.”
    IMHO the Canadian court in thefollwoing extracts from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._v._Big_M_Drug_Mart_Ltd. “. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295, is a landmark decision by Supreme Court of Canada where the Court struck down the Lord’s Day Act for violating section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms…On Sunday, May 30, 1982 the Calgary store Big M Drug Mart was charged with unlawfully carrying on the sale of goods on a Sunday contrary to the Lord’s Day Act of 1906…The Supreme Court ruled that the statute was an unconstitutional violation of section 2 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, deciding that there was no true secular basis for the legislation and its only purpose was, in effect, to establish a state religious-based requirement, and was therefore invalid.”

  37. “Others have addresse Mycroft’s incorrect claim that the US is a Christian country. I would like to addrees his view that non-Christian minorities are “tolerated.” I refer to George Washington’s famous letter to the Jewish congretgation at Newport. Washington, among other things, writes: “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was the indulgence of one class of people that the others enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.” I am sure that all bloggers ar familiar with letter. But it bears and repays a close and careful rereading, particularly in comparison with Moses Seixas’ letter to him. It seems to me that Seixas had Mycroft’s view of things and that Washingon tactfully corrected him.”

    Whether Seixas was correct or Washington’s famous letter was correct at the time period-there still were established churches in the US see eg Congregational in Connecticut and Massachusetts gave aid to then until 1833.

    I am copying Joseph Kaplan’s questions for the US as a Christian country and changing it for Israel and Judaism and Jew
    The critical question is: what does it mean to be a Jewish country? Does it mean Jews have rights that others don’t? Does it mean that Judaism has rights and privileges that other religions don’t? Does it mean that Jewish ritual or belief have some precedence over that of other religions? Or does it mean that there are more Jews in this country by far, than members of another religion? The fourth is clearly true. But show me some proof that the other 3 are or give me another definition of “Jewish country” that has some practical import. Otherwise, it’s a lot of words about nothing.

    We all agree that Israel is a Jewish country-how is the US different in being a Christian country. Israel gives rights to minorities so does the US

  38. As per the CSPAN talk I linked earlier, part of the confusion is due to the difference in law between the Federal government (no established religion) and the States (many did have an established religion) well into the 19th century.

    It was not until the 14th Amendement in 1868 that the States had to comply and remove any vestiges of an established religion (e.g. reverse laws that prevented non-Protestants from holding elected office).

  39. And on the fate of GW’s famous letter, see: http://www.forward.com/articles/138689/

  40. “Sorry Mycroft, right wing christian websites aside, the President of the United states says otherwise.

    ” In his press conference on April 6 in Turkey, President Obama explained: “One of the great strengths of the United States is … we have a very large Christian population — we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”””

    I understand that President Obama once taught constitutional law but al regel achat the following from
    http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=23909

    “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were. . . . the general principles of Christianity. 13 JOHN ADAMS

    [T]he teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally….impossible for us to figure to ourselves what that life would be if these teaching were removed. 14 TEDDY ROOSEVELT

    America was born a Christian nation – America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture. 15 WOODROW WILSON

    American life is builded, and can alone survive, upon . . . [the] fundamental philosophy announced by the Savior nineteen centuries ago. 16 HERBERT HOOVER

    This is a Christian Nation. 17 HARRY TRUMAN

    Let us remember that as a Christian nation . . . we have a charge and a destiny. 18 RICHARD NIXON”
    “The fact that the U. S. Capitol building was available for church on Sundays was due to the Art. I, Sec. 7 constitutional requirement that forbade federal lawmaking on Sundays; and this recognition of a Christian Sabbath in the U. S. Constitution was cited by federal courts as proof of the Christian nature of America. 21 While not every Christian observes a Sunday Sabbath, no other religion in the world honors Sunday except Christianity. As one court noted, the various Sabbaths were “the Friday of the Mohammedan, the Saturday of the Israelite, or the Sunday of the Christian”

  41. Sorry Mycroft, right wing christian websites aside, the President of the United states says otherwise.

    ” In his press conference on April 6 in Turkey, President Obama explained: “One of the great strengths of the United States is … we have a very large Christian population — we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.””

    So why does even BHO date documents “IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven” if not a Christian country

    see eg
    “NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2011 as Women’s History Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month and to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2011 with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that honor the history, accomplishments, and contributions of American women. I also invite all Americans to visit http://www.WomensHistoryMonth.gov to learn more about the generations of women who have shaped our history.

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth….

    BARACK OBAMA”

    Read more: http://www.america.gov/st/texttrans-english/2011/March/20110301111737su0.9234692.html#ixzz1UZuyLBB5

  42. Joseph Kaplan

    “Sunday blue laws clearly have a Christian purpose despite the double talk of the Supremes.”

    Ancient history. For example, we have Blue Laws in Bergen county which have NOTHING to do with religion and EVERYTHING to do with shopping malls and traffic.

    Re Israel: yes, Jews have certain rights and privileges (Law of Return). El Al doesn’t fly on Shabbat and neither do buses ride (except in Haifa). The army is kosher and the supreme court, at times, bases decisions on Jewish law. Etc. (maybe the Israelis can explain this better than I).

    “http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=23909”

    Great argument; pick a right wing site which selectively cherry picks statements from here and there.

    ““The fact that the U. S. Capitol building was available for church on Sundays was due to the Art. I, Sec. 7 constitutional requirement that forbade federal lawmaking on Sundays”

    Huh? What supposed constitutional requirement? Not in my text of the constitution.

    “So why does even BHO date documents “IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven” if not a Christian country”

    This argument at least makes some sense. But the use of such boilerplate language, which probably should be changed, is no different than using A.D. Now I know that some of us are very particular about using C.E. and not A.D. but plenty of non-Christians and atheists are not so particular.

    But again, I ask, what does it mean to be a Christian nation? That we have more christians than any other religion? If so, I agree that’s what we are although I would use a different term. Does it mean anything else in practical terms?

  43. I’m confused by the comparison to Israel as “The Jewish State” in the discussion about whether the US is “A Christian Nation”. Since the Law of Return is applied to people who are not halachically Jewish, the meaning is “of the Jewish people”, not “of the Jewish religion”.

    I am not aware of anyone who posits Christian as a people, rather than a religion.

  44. lawrence.kaplan

    Mycroft Re established churches: Those were state established. I was speaking on a federal level.

  45. “I linked earlier, part of the confusion is due to the difference in law between the Federal government (no established religion) and the States (many did have an established religion) well into the 19th century.

    It was not until the 14th Amendement in 1868”

    I am aware at least in general terms of the impact of the DP clause on the first 10 Amendments to the States.
    Is there any religious requirement for any Israeli government position? Nachum-other than obvious exceptions as Chief Rabbi etc-I am not aware of any. Correct me if I am wrong.

  46. “http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=23909″

    Great argument; pick a right wing site which selectively cherry picks statements from here and there.”
    Before I gooogled my search I had never heard of the site.
    ““The fact that the U. S. Capitol building was available for church on Sundays was due to the Art. I, Sec. 7 constitutional requirement that forbade federal lawmaking on Sundays”

    Huh? What supposed constitutional requirement? Not in my text of the constitution.”

    I relied on the site and I accept your comments but note the following from Article 1 Section 7-unlike the late Sen Sam Ervin I do not carry a copy of the Constitution in my pocket-
    “If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law”
    Implicit in the Sundays excepted is that work would not be performed on Sunday. Sundays are certainly treated differently in the original Constitution.
    Within a couple of days I get accused “Nachum on August 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm
    Look, mycroft, I realize you’re a red-diaper (or at least class-warfare Democrat) baby with all that implies,” and today by Joseph Kaplan “Great argument; pick a right wing site which selectively cherry picks statements from here and there”

    “But again, I ask, what does it mean to be a Christian nation? That we have more christians than any other religion? If so, I agree that’s what we are although I would use a different term. Does it mean anything else in practical terms?”

    What does Israel mean as a Jewish nation in practical terms-general day of rest Saturday, US day off Sunday, General holidays Jewish Holidays, US Christian holidays-Israel I believe has a Arab on the Supreme Court-US including usually has had at least 1 Jew for the past 100 years.

  47. “Re Israel: yes, Jews have certain rights and privileges (Law of Return).”
    A fair distinction

    “El Al doesn’t fly on Shabbat”
    a private carrier
    “and neither do buses ride”
    the nearest public bus to my house operates 6 days a week-not on Sunday

    “The army is kosher and the supreme court, at times, bases decisions on Jewish law. Etc.”
    Every country needs some guidance when there is no case on point etc-in 1980 or so Israel switched to Jewish law rather than the previous Common Law. I believe it is a very rare occurrence. BTW precisely in civil law contexts of mishpat Ivri. Twentieth Century Rabbinic expert commentators in blogs may have a better explanation of Mishpat Ivri and Elon and Israel SC.

    Prof Kaplan would know better but I believe even the late Prof H Wolfson made a point against using the latin initials beginning with A.

    “lawrence.kaplan on August 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm
    Mycroft Re established churches: Those were state established. I was speaking on a federal level.”
    Fair enough but supremacy clause would state that no state law can be inconsistent with US Constitution.

  48. ””. Since the Law of Return is applied to people who are not halachically Jewish, the meaning is “of the Jewish people”

    All that means most Jews don’t define Jewishness by halachik terms, most Christians dont define being Christian by fealty to religion of its leaders-see eg most American Catholics do not accept certain basic dogmas of the church-I believe Fr Greeley wrote on that subject. Doesn’t Italy allow abortion?
    There is clearly a social aspect to belonging.

  49. Israel just passed a law, which states that if there is ever a conflict between the ‘Jewish nature of the State’, and ‘Democracy’, then ‘Jewish nature’ wins out… As IH pointed out, this is Jewish on a nation/people level, not on a western religion level.

    However, it should be noted that Israel has no official state Bishop or Imam, but does have a State Rabbi.

  50. “I refer to George Washington’s”
    BTW-for a different perspective on GW read Marvin Kitmans book on him.

  51. In the continuing contrast and compare exercise, it is worth noting that the State appointed Chief Rabbis in Israel are a continuation from the British Empire rather than a deliberate expression of Jewish religion by The Jewish State. Similarly, the delegation of marriage/burial to religious authorities is the continuation of the Ottoman millet system.

    Thus, there is no question that Israel is different in respect of boundaries between Religion and State than the US; but, that is less to do with Judaism and more to do with the previous government and legal systems that were in force.

  52. I am sad to read that Manhattan Judaica is closing. I am struck by:

    “Vesely had been banking on strong demand from the 75 to 100 men who prayed in the store every day. He granted a special discount to “Manhattan Minyan Members” but only about 10 percent of them patronized the store to the extent he’d hoped they would, he said.”

    But, in fairness, I am not sure his limited book inventory was sufficiently varied to reasonably expect regular repeat purchases.

  53. Once again, R D Ferziger hits a home run.

  54. Perhaps, it is the part of me that says Hallel on Yom HaAtzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim and refers to the Holocaust as either the Holocaust or the Shoah, as opposed to Churban Europa, but the videos and lectures sponsored by the Chafetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, and IMO, the accompanying literature, while inspiring for others, do not strike me as enabling one to get to the depths of what Tisha B”Av is about. Even shiurim that call us on to mourn properly while dismissive of the amazing Torah renaissance in Israel strike me as IMO as accentuating what we are supposed to be mourning, but acknowledging where we could be improving from our present perpsectives. The OU’s edition of Kinos based on the shiurim of RYBS IMO really enabled me to appreciate what we are supposed to be mourning on a national, communal and individual level.

  55. Re: Article on expense of Jewish education

    Finally, an article on Tradition blog that discusses issues of public policy. Here I thought it had become simply a souped up parshat shavua blog. Glad to see I’m wrong.

  56. For those who did not watch, I would strongly recommend R Weinreb’s webcast on Kinos.http://www.ou.org/holidays/tishabav

  57. MiMedinat HaYam

    “However, it should be noted that Israel has no official state Bishop or Imam, but does have a State Rabbi.”

    thats all we need — to get involved with endorsing a state bishop or imam. as if they would agree on such a position. (though interestingly, the head of the greek orthodox church must be formally appointed by the state of israel, so the current archbishioop, a notorious anti semite, was formally appointed by olmert and arafat; that is part of the background of the “greek island affair.” so much for corruption discussion.)

    and i wouldnt call them “state rabbis” as much as administrators (or such — i wont get into details on that word) of state kosher laws, state funded mikvaot and state funded synagogues, etc.

    they NEVER speak out on moral, etc issues.

    as opposed to a british chief rabbi who ONLY speaks out on moral issues (and administers about five synagogues, someone pointed out here last month). which also has a state bishop (of canterbury) and a ceremonial head of the church (known as the queen.)

    (almost) every european country has a number of officially recognized religions. luckily (?) judaism is one of them, even though they discriminate, etc. regulars to this blog would recognize the “austritt” issue as an element of this.

    the ottoman empire, to curry favor with europe, adopted this approach (after the damasucus blood libel incident) in palestine; thus, we have the french notre dame hospital, the russian compound, the italian “post office”, and the american consulate (in east jerusalem; has nothing to do with the embassy in tel aviv; always reported straight to washington, since its establishment in 1840s). israel violated this ottaman arrangement, by giving the anglican church (which was not recognized by the ottomans) a “book” to enter their marriages; i.e., the right to perform marriages. and the “chacham bashi” evolved since into the sfardic chief rabbi.

    state sponsorship of religion was 100% legal in the us till the 14th amendment. as was state discrmination against ppl, on grounds of religion, till the 14th. though every state abolished those well before the 14th. (though vestiges remained / remain even today.)

    the most heavily jewish county in new jersey paradoxically has christian blue laws. (supposedly, it is highly popular among residents, for non religious reasons.) other christian observance in the us (such as the year of our lord issues, religious issues on currency, in courts, etc,) are all what is called “ceremonial deism.”

  58. If memory serves, the State remains involved in the appointment of the Greek Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem.

  59. FWIW, RAL, in one of his printed essays, described the loss of respect for the CR even in the RZ community as a source for Psak and Hashkafic guidance as it became increasingly politicized.

  60. lawrence.kaplan

    Mycroft: Your comment about Marvin Kitman is irrelevant, but, in any event, I hope you don’t believe his books are serious history.

  61. the State appointed Chief Rabbis in Israel are a continuation from the British Empire

    So many policies and laws from the British Mandate have since been revoked, why not this one?

    that is less to do with Judaism and more to do with the previous government and legal systems that were in force.

    I would say it has more to do with Jewish society and culture (which does not necessarily accord with our understanding of the Jewish religion).

    If memory serves, the State remains involved in the appointment of the Greek Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem.

    My recollection is that this is only because G.O. internal regulations for patriarchal appointment require the approval of local political authorities. Israel has been known to use this requirement as leverage on issues like the large land reserves in Jerusalem owned by the G.O. church.

  62. MiMedinat HaYam

    shlomo — “Israel has been known to use this requirement as leverage on issues like the large land reserves in Jerusalem owned by the G.O. church.”

    i refer to my previous comment about the “greek islands affair”

    also, note — the greek orthodox church is the largest landowner in jerusalem, including the land the knesset is built on.

  63. MiMedinat HaYam

    re: rabbi t’s article — so two administrators are needed to review student work. plus one for the trips. personally, i’d add one to review the teachers. but the 400 student figure applies to the school overrall, not to the early childhood, lower school, middler school, upper school divisions separately.)

    note — how many RY of your typical yeshiva personally know their talmidim? (much much less than those who think they must use that RY to be their mesader kiddushin. rabbi t (the son, not necessarily the father) might be the one they should go to.

    alluded to is the question of who pays for special ed? should that come out of general school funds, or dedicated funds? and how much is spent? (a general figure of 12% is given for just one aspect. or is that the major aspect? i dont know, and inquiring minds want to know.)

    competition is mentioned. well, rabbi t doesnt have competition, unless you mean that new school many miles away that claims to will depend on online courses. well, thats an experiment, both in the on line courses, and in being a new school. though the point of minor hashkafic differences is valid, though not in central jersey. (of course, charedim seem to have a pblm in insufficient number of schools.)

  64. “in an idolatrous state, you are considered part of an idolatrous entity, and in many ways (i.e. taxes) you are likely to materially support idolatry.”

    Assuming that there are idolatrous religions in the US-we support them through the tax expenditure of charitable deductions.

  65. “lawrence.kaplan on August 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm
    Mycroft: Your comment about Marvin Kitman is irrelevant, but, in any event, I hope you don’t believe his books are serious history”

    You don’t believe his facts? from memory it has been decades-such as GW worked for “free” as commander of the Continental Army but just demanded his “expenses”-his expenses were so outrageous eg wine etc that when GW was offered the Presidency he offered to work for free just “expenses”. GW was told no we pay you 25K= a big amount in those days-you pay your own personal expenses.
    Of course, GW was a land developer-subdividing lots.
    Prof Kaplan history depends IMHO on your perspective, from the Revolutionary War aren’t the Tories and theUnited Empire Loyalists the same. What does Je me souviens refer to in Quebec License Plates? Before the Plains of Abraham?

  66. IH on August 10, 2011 at 8:29 am
    I am sad to read that Manhattan Judaica is closing. I am struck by:

    ““Vesely had been banking on strong demand from the 75 to 100 men who prayed in the store every day. He granted a special discount to “Manhattan Minyan Members” but only about 10 percent of them patronized the store to the extent he’d hoped they would, he said.”

    But, in fairness, I am not sure his limited book inventory was sufficiently varied to reasonably expect regular repeat purchases”

    I never davened there-the books seemed to porpotionately have some MO writers that Eichlers didn’t have? Obviously a much smaller total collection than Eichlers in Brooklyn. I bought a few books,zizit and kipot there over the years.

  67. From Rabbi Teitz:

    “There is a point, though, where the expectation of an annual increase is not reasonable. Some teachers, especially Limudei Kodesh teachers, are reaching that level. We have to realize that many parents do not earn six-figure salaries. Teachers, in my mind, should not either. Administrative salaries are another topic altogether, though even there unrealistic expectations of remuneration abound”

  68. “The Guardian reported that some members of Tottenham’s small Chasidic community — all that remains of a once-substantial Jewish community that earned its local soccer team the nickname “the Yids” — gathered to jeer police. A video posted on YouTube shows Orthodox men laughing and then scattering as a crowd of mounted police officers move in.”

    I saw that video or a similar one repeated often on a cable news channel.

  69. Bnei Akiva like much of RZ changed drastically because of the 6 day war. I was a memberbefore RZ became an appendage to Eretz Yisrael Hashleima-Yad Achim.

  70. “Americans born in Jerusalem should have the same right to indicate their country of birth on their passport that is currently available to other American citizens born abroad, and that is what Congress has mandated,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director. “The purpose of a passport is for identification, and it is indisputable that Jerusalem is in Israel. The Supreme Court should insist that the State Department follow the law.””

    Problem is that Courts generally will follow Execurive Branch in foreign policy questions. It has never been US policy that Jerusalem is part of Israel. Presidential candidates might give speeches about it-but every administration has had the US Couinsulate in Jerusalem not report to the embassy in TA. That would be the practice if they treated Jerusalem pat of Israel.

  71. For a view that treats GWB as better than BHO on Jerusalem

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/obama-is-no-george-w-bush-when-it-comes-to-israel/2011/03/29/gIQAMXKK7I_blog.html

    Posted at 07:48 PM ET, 08/10/2011
    Obama is no George W. Bush when it comes to Israel
    By Jennifer Rubin
    Daniel Halper of the Weekly Standard broke a story yesterday:

    At 3:22 p.m., I posted [a] photo of Vice President Joe Biden and Shimon Peres, with an accompanying caption that indicated it had been taken last year in Jerusalem, Israel. . .
    The point of posting the photo was to show that, although the State Department refuses to say that Jerusalem is in Israel, even the White House website acknowledges this elementary truth (at least for Western Jerusalem, west of the 1949 armistice lines). But not any more. Within two hours of posting, the White House has apparently gone through its website, cleansing any reference to Jerusalem as being in Israel.
    This report followed from the Washington Jewish Week:

    After searching the White House’s online archives, it becomes clear that George W. Bush also found the issue problematic — and chose to err on the side of caution.
    Here’s just one archived photo:
    “President George W. Bush walks with Israel’s President Shimon Peres, right, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, center, as they arrive Friday, Jan. 11, 2008, to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum, in Jerusalem, where the President laid a wreath in honor of Holocaust victims before departing Jerusalem for Galilee. White House photo by Eric Draper . . . .”
    Another search of the Bush White House’s archives revealed a trend — Jerusalem is never explicitly labeled as part of Israel.
    While the overall policy might infuriate pro-Israel stalwarts, the record shows that the White House’s policy has been consistent under both Bush and Obama (and probably further back.)
    Just to hammer home the point, take a look at this photo of Laura Bush touring the Western Wall tunnels, which, according to the former administration, is located simply “in Jerusalem.”
    As a preliminary matter it doesn’t answer the question as to why the current White House tried to cover its tracks. But, more important, as one who has monitored with great interest the Obama administration’s departures from Bush’s Israel policy and have a pretty good grasp of how they differ, this didn’t sound right. Rather than rely on a search of the prior administration’s photos, I went to the best source, Elliot Abrams, the man directly responsible for U.S.-Israel relations in the Bush administration, to see if this was accurate.

    He told me, “This is just wrong. A look at the Bush White House on-line Archives shows that Jerusalem was sometimes singled out and often was not. Dozens and dozens of times, statements were made that included Jerusalem in Israel. Just one example: when in early May 2008 the National Security Advisor briefed the press about the President’s forthcoming trip, he said it was to ‘Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia’ not ‘Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jerusalem.’ The record will show that the Bush Administration did not have a hard and fast rule that prohibited referring to Jerusalem that way at all times and in all statements and press releases.” (As an aside, the Bush administration never raised a a barrier to negotiations building in the Jewish state’s capital; that’ an invention of the current administration).

    Even if one had doubts (which I do not) about whether Abrams’ view is accurate, you would think you’d try to check with someone in the Bush administration before making such an allegation. The reporter of the piece candidly acknowledges that he did not and did not attempt to before running the piece. I have no doubt that Washington Jewish Week, a reputable publication that has provided fair and accurate reporting in the past, will update the report and/or attempt to verify it with other knowledgeable sources.

    But what about all of the lefty defense backs who perpetually run interference for the White House on Israel (and send off re-tweets or links to reports without checking themselves)? We can only hope they’d correct it too and acknowledge that comparing Obama to Bush on Israel is like comparing the Bad News Bears to the Yankees.

    By Jennifer Rubin | 07:48 PM ET, 08/10/2011

  72. Abrams may be right, he may be wrong; I haven’t checked the record. But this one example, by “the man directly responsible for U.S.-Israel relations in the Bush administration” is laughable and proves nothing. If that’s the best he can come up with, then he is really supporting the point of the original article.

  73. Problem is that Courts generally will follow Execurive Branch in foreign policy questions. It has never been US policy that Jerusalem is part of Israel. Presidential candidates might give speeches about it-but every administration has had the US Couinsulate in Jerusalem not report to the embassy in TA. That would be the practice if they treated Jerusalem pat of Israel.

    What I wonder about this case is that President Bush did sign the law. He is the Executive Branch, so there is something a bit strange about the head of that branch signing something, then refusing to follow it because he claims it is the prerogative of his branch to decide what to do. If that is the case, then don’t sign it.

    (OTOH, in theory Congress could have overwritten any veto. You don’t necessarily need the President to sign a law to become law. But here he did, in fact, sign it.)

  74. Two good articles on Crown Heights from the Jewish Week. Sadly, it seems the paper’s editors still don’t get it; note well that the headline of Marks’ piece (unlike his article, chosen by the editors) places “pogrom” in quotation marks. The cowering Jew lives.

    I also find it particularly delicious that Marks’ piece has a long-past-due mea culpa from Foxman on the same day Gil links to a piece by none other than the man himself, telling us how to be nice to the Muslims. Some people never learn. I only hope Foxman doesn’t have a tragic reason to look back in twenty years and see how wrong he was.

  75. Militant secular Israeli disgusted by the growing observance of Jewish customs in Israel
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/when-did-tisha-b-av-become-a-national-fast-day-1.378100

  76. How was that “militant secular”?

  77. Nachum-Ari Goldman’s excellent article especially illustrates the POV of the NY Times during the Crown Heights pogrom.

  78. Nachum is right on re his POV re Abe Foxman and ADL-which is studiously quiet to Islamofascists speaking on college campuses, the abuse of Jewish students who stand up for Israel, and anti Semitism eminating from the left, while it continues its “historic mission” of looking for swastikas in every bathroom on every interstate in the US.

  79. IH: what would you prefer I call the author, militant religious?
    I added the “militant” qualifier to avoid the implication that most secular Israelis think that way.
    I thought it went without saying that the word “militant” does not mean you’ve ever actually picked up a firearm.

  80. Re: R. Joshua Maroof on Shelo Asani Ishah

    This is the same R. Joshua Maroof who ordained Rabba Sara Hurwitz (ref: http://yeshivatmaharat.org/about-us)?

    “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

  81. IH,

    http://matzav.com/rabbi-maroof-to-avi-weiss-please-remove-my-name-from-yeshivat-maharat-website

    They say he ordained her but he has said over and over again that he just spoke at the gathering and never gave any ordination. That’s why he wants out

  82. At http://www.jofa.org/social.php/participatio/rabbisrebbet you will find the text of his speech, as well as R. Maroof’s responsum provided in advance of the ordination.

  83. Perhaps, R Maroof is engaging in hirhurei teshuvah. R Maroof’s article certainly seems as if he is distancing himself from the far LW of MO.

  84. I thought Gil was staying out of the Kanefsky affair? He refused to link to R. Kanefsky’s retraction, in which he apologized for his hasty and strident choice of language. But now Gil is linking to criticism from someone who refers to R. Kanefsky as “purportedly Orthodox”? This does not seem fair or respectful.

  85. IH: Where does R. Maroof that he conferred a title on Sara Hurwitz? In his responsum he says that a woman can pasken and in his speech (at the Maharat ceremony, not Rabba) he just says that he is happy to be there because he considers it an important event. Not that I would have spoken at or even attended the event.

  86. Curious: I stayed out of it before Tisha B’Av. We’re now in open season.

  87. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    Read my letter to Rabbi Weiss. I never ordained anyone anf my speech and responsum have repeatedly been misunderstood and misinterpreted by people like IH who deliberately refuse to read the numerous clarifications I have offered regarding my position and involvement in the whole episode. This is precisely why I requested that my name and responsum be removed from the websites. I was never was a part of the Open Orthodox movement in any way. My mistake was participating and speaking in a context that allowed my positions to be misconstrued, and I regret that but was unable to change the perceptions that were formed without asking that references to me be eliminated from the context altogether.

  88. Gil — I was not there and do not know the people involved. I am just observing based on the available data.

    R. Maroof — with respect, I did nothing more than point out your words, so your comment about me is off the mark. Feel free to post the links to the other things you wrote and I will be happy to read them as time permits.

  89. R. Maroof — to cut to the chase, is it your contention this statement is a lie?

    “After another five years of study under the auspices of Rabbi Avi Weiss, she was ordained by Rabbi Weiss, Rabbi Daniel Sperber and Rabbi Joshua Maroof.”

    “Yes” or “No”, please (with additional commentary as you feel necessary).

  90. MiMedinat HaYam

    mycroft — the east jerusamlem consulate historically (from 1840s) is completely separate from the tel aviv embassy. so that is really not an argument. though i agree that the embassy should be moved to jerusalem. (the contingency plans, on the other hand, involve a token presence in jerusalem (west) and the main business being conducted in tel aviv.)

    tal — 41 signed it with an exception that he will not abide by that provision of a much much bigger act that prvided many other things to many other agencies, etc. relatively common in washington, of dubious legality, but the courts wont touch it bcause of “political issue” clause the court itself designed. besides the foreign policy exception.

    midtown judaica — jewish books / seforim are a loss leader for judaica shops. they gotta stock too many, so they dont. artscroll doesnt let you make a decent profit, unless you consume mass quantities (hey, thats eichlers, who couldnt make it there.) even eichlers pushes gifts and a table of “popular” books in the front of their store. (and they prefer to push the more expen$ive gifts, where there is more elasticity in their margins.) and tzizit and kippot and etc gifts. the serious books are shoved in the back. (even the cd’s — i guess little $ in that, too.)

    bnei akiva is suffering from the same neglect the mizrachi movement (in the us, and in israel; i presume the rest of the world, too) has been suffering from the past few decades. is the money well drying up? i guess so, but because of leadership, not ideology.

    mycroft on rabbi t — like i said, why so many administrators? — i disproved the five minutes per student claim, by pointing out administrators for early ed, lower school, middle school, upper school, high school for boys, high school for girls, etc.

  91. R Maroof’s statements are indicative of a person who has thought about the consequences of his writings and actions, and what he views as his remarks and writings being quoted out of context. It takes no small amount of intestional fortitude to indicate that one’s views were taken to conclusions that were never intended and that he or she disassociates himself or herself from the same. As opposed to Talmidei Chachamim whose views are guided by Emes, because Emes Yesh Lo Raglayim and Sheker Ain Lo Raglayim, ideologues work from the view that ideologically rooted views cannot be subject to an honest and painfully thought out retraction. The assumption that only someone dishonest R”L would change his mind strikes me as a means of inquiry or argument that should be deplored.

  92. Midtown Judaica’s closing is to be deplored. It did not have the depth of an Eichler’s or Bigeleisen, but there was no pro ArtScroll tilt.

    Re BA-I would attribute BA’s problems to the tilt to the right in the US and the perception of BA as a one mitzvah movement in some circles. FWIW, its camps in the US still are a huge draw.

  93. Steve — FTR, I have no issue if R. Maroof changed his mind. But, that is not what he is saying (e.g. Rabbi Joshua Maroof on August 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm). Hence my blunt question to him.

  94. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    Steve,

    Thank you.

    IH,

    I haven’t changed my mind. As Steve says, I have reconsidered the implications and ramifications of my statements and actions, and particularly I have reconsidered the context in which they were made/taken and realized the negative consequences thereof. I first made this clear to Yated Neeman back in 2009:

    http://matzav.com/rabbi-maroof-to-yated-i-regret-participating-in-maharit-matriculation

    Although I did teach Sara Hurwitz, I didn’t sign any document of ordination. I would not consider myself worthy of ordaining someone.

    What I did was participate in the event, give a speech there, and support the idea that she should be qualified to teach and answer questions of halakha, based on my knowledge of her abilities and my belief that qualified women can teach and answer questions of halakha. My responsum was of a general nature and had to do with the right of women to give horaah, it had nothing to do with the case of Sara Hurwitz in particular.

    Had I known that as a result of the context I would be categorized as Open Orthodox and held responsible for everything done under the banner of Open Orthodoxy, I never would have participated. But I was a bit naive at the time, and my desire to support women’s learning overtook my better judgment.

  95. “tal — 41 signed it with an exception that he will not abide by that provision of a much much bigger act that prvided many other things to many other agencies, etc. relatively common in washington, of dubious legality, but the courts wont touch it bcause of “political issue” clause the court itself designed. besides the foreign policy exception.”

    MeMedinat HaYam- That’s exactly what the case is before the Supreme Court. The Court is considering two questions (and something of a third by implication): one, whether this falls under the political issue clause, and two (at the direction of the Court), whether the law infringes on the foreign policy exception. Built into the latter question is whether or not a signing statement affects the interpretation of a law by the courts. See SCOTUSBlog’s coverage for more on that issue.

    And incidentally, it was Bush 43, not Bush 41 who signed the law.

  96. R. Maroof — With respect, either the statement I quoted is true or it’s false. In all your words, I don’t see a direct response to my straightforward question of 5:05 pm.

  97. IH: While I understand your frustration, the only way to understand his response to you is that the statement is false. The question that then arises is why he doesn’t ask Yeshivat Maharat to change it.

  98. Joseph — I didn’t want to put words in R. Maroof’s mouth, but my read is that all the verbiage is to obfuscate that the quotation is not a lie (and, hence, true).

    I suspect the disagreement is about what the word “ordained” means, rather than whether the event occurred.

  99. No Joseph, I agree with IH. R’ Maroof, we are not discussing whether you have been attributed all the sins of Open Orthodoxy. We are not discussing the affects of your words. Please answer IH’s question of 5:05 pm. You implied the answer, but you need to say it straight out.

  100. “I suspect the disagreement is about what the word “ordained” means, rather than whether the event occurred.”

    It’s not that complicated. Someone who signed or approved your semicha ordained you. Someone who speak at your chag ha semicha did not. My semicha is signed by R. Norman Lamm and R. Zevulun Charlop. They ordained me. The (other) rabbonim who spoke at my chag ha semikha did not.

  101. I think Tal’s tight. But since different people read R. Maroof’s response (i won’t call it an answer) differently, there are really 2 questions:

    1. Why won’t he give a direct answer; and
    2. If his answer is (as I think it is) that the statement is false, why doesn’t he ask Yeshivat Maharat to change it.

    On second thought, since he apparently hasn’t asked them (it would be difficult to believe he did and they refused), perhaps IH and HAGTGB are right and his answer is that it’s true. Which brings us back to question no. 1.

  102. Joseph, I agree with you as to what his answer “probably” is but, if he is going to make a comment here to provide clarity, I am not going to guess. Either the statement is true or it is not and I was struck that R’ Maroof did not straight out say which.

  103. I think people should leave Rabbi Maroof (whom I don’t know and didn’t know anything about before today –and I still don’t know much about him) alone. If he doesn’t currently meet their standard of extreme left-wing doctrinal purity (and whether or not he once did), what difference does it make?

  104. Tal — Being charitable means looking for alternative explanations in which neither side has/is telling a lie. In my experience, many disputes are due to people using words to mean different things.

    Given the circumstances, it is not unreasonable for me to suspect the disagreement is about what the word “ordained” means, rather than whether the event occurred (n.b. there is no reference to “semicha” in any of its forms by any of those involved, but perhaps I have missed this).

  105. i wonder how people are using the word “ordained”. does the signature on smicha certificate mean that person taught you? your his talmid? you sat in his shiur? or is it just the official designated to sign for the seminary? the saying- i received my smicha from x – does that mean that x signed his certificate or taught the person or both?
    i have no knowledge of how this works in the real world but enjoy the parsing of words (but its not hair splitting or the splitting of hairs – is there more than one here?)

  106. Michael Rogovin

    On Rabbi Teitz, it was a well written article with a number of interesting points but I do not understand its premise. Why does anyone think that the cost of Jewish education is too high? Not everyone pays full tuition, thus the actual cost cannot be determined by looking at tuition cost, but by the expenses in any given year divided by the number of students, which may be higher or lower than the official tuition bill (the statement that costs are not met by tuition alone does not say anything about the cost per pupil, since it refers to the total intake from tuition, vs. the total expenses, divided by the number of pupils)

    I do not have good figures handy, but from what I have seen, the total cost per pupil for northern NJ K-8 schools is about average or less than the the comparable figure for public schools, and keep in mind that the yeshivas must include debt service (not necessarily included in public school budgets), have a lower teacher-student ratio and pay lower salaries for teachers. The fact is that Jewish education is underfunded, not over funded, and teacher salaries should be increased and they should be provided with pensions and other benefits. The real problem is the way yeshivas are funded, not their cost.

    Until and unless we address the need for a community wide “tax” to support education, rather than the pay-as-you-go model, we will never be able to address long term sustainability of day school finances.

  107. Abba's Rantings

    MICHAEL ROGOVIN:

    MICHAEL ROGOVIN:

    “the total cost per pupil for northern NJ K-8 schools is about average or less than the the comparable figure for public schools”

    apples and oranges.
    take out special ed from the public school (and which yeshivot don’t provide) and cost per pupil drops. (nyc for example spent $50 mil just for a computer system to track special ed students)

  108. “B is, you pick your battles”

    Agree with Nachum

  109. “My semicha is signed by R. Norman Lamm and R. Zevulun Charlop. They ordained me. The (other) rabbonim who spoke at my chag ha semikha did not.”

    Cmon-its like saying the President of the University gave me my graduate degrees-signing the certificate does not equal who taught me and who was on my committee etc.

  110. Michael Rogovin

    Actually, the numbers I saw did NOT include special ed. And at least some yeshivot do provide some of the services included in special ed budgets. People do not want to face facts. Take out debt service and day school costs in many areas are comparable, perhaps even less than, public school costs. In any case, they are not all that high. The problem is that the immediate users are bearing nearly the entire cost, rather than it being spread across the entire community (including singles/young couples and empty nesters).

  111. Interesting article by R. Maroof. I reccommend the article by R. Eugene Korn entitled “Tzelem Elokim and the dialectic of Jewish Morality” Tradition 31:2 1997.

    In relation to a seperate topic, he writes:

    We have argued, in the tradition of Abaye, Rambam and Maharsha, who maintained that a central purpose of halaka is the realization of moral values, and in the tradition of Hilel, Rabbi Akiva and Ben Azzai, who claimed that the content of mitsvot could be organized around fundamental ethical Torah principles, and that an essential thrust of our rabbinic and halakhic tradition is the promotion of humane Torah values symbolized by tselcm Elokim. If so, it is incumbent on us as morally responsible persons committed to the halakha to believe in the ethical integrity of mitsvot. The practical consequence of this belief is that we must uncover and commit ourselves to legitimate halakic interpretations that are consistent with tselem Elokim values’

  112. Michael Rogovin

    Regarding the cross at WTC (I’ve been off line and am catching up), while I sympathize with R. Gil’s position, to me it depends on context. If it is displayed as one of many remnants with an explanatory panel that some Christians saw it as a religious symbol, that is one thing. Hopefully there would be a broader context, and it would be done in such a way that the space could not be used in an inappropriate way. OTOH, if those who want it on public display want it to be presented as a continuing religious symbol, rather than as an artifact, then it should find a home in a nearby religious institution, such as the church that survived across the street. There are crosses all over art museums and since these are artifacts, it is not an issue.

    For the record, I am in 100% agreement with R. Student about displays/uses of religious symbols like Christmas trees, creches, chanukiot, etc on public property and especially government institutional buildings. They are inappropriate and two wrongs do not make a right. On private property I’m generally OK but I do wonder why businesses see it appropriate to identify with one religion, even if it is predominant.

  113. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    I didn’t realize my response was still unclear. I don’t like the term “lie”, it is an accusatory word that implies intentional fabrication by the other party. “Not accurate in my opinion” would be a fairer assessment.

    I think, as other commenters have suggested, that there is a disagreement as to how my role at the event and in the process was to be understood. I, for one, was more surprised than anyone else when I learned that I was credited with the “ordination”.

    And, for the record, I HAVE asked them to remove this statement from the website. I await there compliance with my request.

  114. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    Let me add, though, that I still respect the scholarship and religious commitment of Sara Hurwitz personally and would stand behind her right to answer halakhic questions in all areas in which she is qualified to do so. I do not mean to suggest otherwise. I would not consider such support “ordination”, however.

    Is this clear now? Thanks for your willingness to discuss and clarify these issues.

  115. I was an eyewitness to a riot once:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Virginia_Beach#1989:_.22Greekfest.22_riots

    I was more afraid of the police than of the rioters. I have not been back to Virginia Beach since.

  116. Sorry last post was intended for a different thread.

  117. Wow, R’ Maroof. I must say, whether I agree or disagree with someone, dishonesty really changes my perception. If they’re keeping it on despite your request, they’ve just gone way down.

    I imagine they need that magic number “three” to stay. And you may be shocked to hear this, but in terms of perception, you probably are needed more than the other two, for various reasons.

    “Cmon-its like saying the President of the University gave me my graduate degrees-signing the certificate does not equal who taught me and who was on my committee etc.”

    Actually, mycroft, it’s how semikha works. YU is rather unique in that it gives semikha as an institution. Of all the yeshivot in America (and maybe beyond), I think only Torah Vodaath and maybe Chofetz Chaim do that. (And these are the only two or three with actual semikha programs.) Technically, no one is “ordained” by, say, Lakewood. You learn there, you go to a rebbe, he gives you semikha.

    My father’s is signed by Dr. Belkin- who, of course, he never learned under- and the Rav (who, of course, he did). He was closest with R’ David Lifshitz, who’s not on the document. That’s the way it works. Now that I think of it, Tal Benschar’s comment that R’ Charlop signed his makes more sense from an academic point of view- the overall head and the head of your school (i.e., the Dean of RIETS) usually sign. Otherwise which rebbe would you pick? Perhaps it’s because RIETS didn’t have a Dean (and technically didn’t exist) back then? I don’t know.

  118. “My semicha is signed by R. Norman Lamm and R. Zevulun Charlop. They ordained me. The (other) rabbonim who spoke at my chag ha semikha did not.”

    Cmon-its like saying the President of the University gave me my graduate degrees-signing the certificate does not equal who taught me and who was on my committee etc

    Mycroft: You are deliberately ignoring the second half of my post and what we are discussing here. You can quibble about how much of a role R. Lamm and R. Charlop had in my semikha education, but given that they signed it (in reliance on what my teachers at RIETS did), it would not be dishonest of me to say that they ordained me.

    But for me to say that someone who simply spoke for 10 minutes at my Chag ha Semikha, and who otherwise had nothing to do with my education, “ordained me” would be rank dishonesty. No “charitable” interpretation would save me from such a charge.

    Mutatis mutandis, and you will get my point in this discussion.

  119. Re Rabbi Zweibel and Agudah on reporting-assuming arguendo that R Zweibel’s position represents halacha-maybe one should be prohibited entering fields where Halacha contradicts legal requirements.

  120. “Perhaps it’s because RIETS didn’t have a Dean (and technically didn’t exist) back then”
    Correct but essentially the same job was done for decades by Norman Abrams A”H-after he passed away I believe R Aberman had the job for a couple of years and then R Charlop. It is the same job with title inflation.

  121. R. Maroof – with respect, you are still trying to have it both ways. If they are not lying, then the statement on their web site is not false even according to you. It may be that you and they disagree about what is meant by “ordain” and/or that you have buyer’s regret. The other side need not flaunt your involvement, but it does not change the fact they state.

    Why don’t you just state that you’ve have changed your view and no longer support that which you once supported. Shabbat Shalom.

  122. “Actually, mycroft, it’s how semikha works. YU is rather unique in that it gives semikha as an institution. Of all the yeshivot in America (and maybe beyond), I think only Torah Vodaath and maybe Chofetz Chaim do that. (And these are the only two or three with actual semikha programs.) Technically, no one is “ordained” by, say, Lakewood. You learn there, you go to a rebbe, he gives you semikha”

    Of interest is that the Rav sometimes gave a separate smicha to at least some of his students in addition to the RIETS smicha which was signed by the Rav. Some who received separate smicha have let it be known broadly-others not. One document that I saw the Rav dates it in Chodesh ziv rather than Iyyar.

  123. For a sobering perspective on Israel’s situation see

    http://frontpagemag.com/2011/08/12/how-israels-end-will-look/2/

  124. IH, you’re really reaching here. I understand why you’re so desperate to prove that the original “ordination” wasn’t a dissimulating farce, but R’ Maroof is being quite clear and is certainly not lying. Why not go pester R’ Weiss for a while? Is it because you agree with him?

    “It is the same job with title inflation.”

    It’s more likely that since RIETS only became an independent school in 1970, it didn’t get a Dean until then. Abrams ran everything, from the High School up.

    “Many people have trouble tolerating milk or develop allergies to it but when the enzymes are present and not boiled out they can handle milk just fine.”

    This is nonsense on stilts. Practically all non-Caucasian human beings can’t drink milk because it simply isn’t a food for humans. It has to do with patterns of evolution in the last few thousand years correlating to the raising of cattle and has nothing to do with pasteurization, which doesn’t help or hurt at all. Those Caucasians who can’t handle milk have that “problem” for the same reason as Africans and Asians who can’t.

    As Tom Wolfe once pointed out, the accumulated health- and, more so, hygenic- knowledge of the last two hundred years or so exists for a reason, and we ignore it at our peril. I don’t think that’s it’s a coincidence (although it is incongruous, considering that such disdain usually exists on the far Left and ultra yuppies) that we see so much of it (e.g. lack of vaccination) in those Jewish communities who disdain modernity the most. They seem to be the ones who fallf or fad “science” the most, sometimes disastrously.

  125. IH: I think you’re being unfair to R. Maroof. I think he how now very clearly answered your question and stated his position — he did not ordain Rabbat Hurwitz. The fact that he doesn’t want to use the word “lie” or “lying” is perfectly understandable and appropriate because not every inaccurate or false statement is a lie. And as one who questioned R. Maroof before, I’d like to say that I appreciate and respect his now direct and clear response.

  126. Just an interesting tidbit. In addition to his normal YU semikha, R Rakkefet also has one from R. Yaakov Moshe Lessin, the mashgiach back in those days. Don’t know the story behind it though (probably in the book which I have not yet gotten )-:.

  127. R’ Maroof’s position is very clear yet it is not clear. He has clearly and unambiguously stated he has never ordained Sarah Hurwitz. He has clearly and unambiguously stated he never had intent to do so. He has clearly and unambiguously stated that he opposes the “Open Orthodox” movement.

    On the other hand, he also adds he “would stand behind her right to answer halakhic questions in all areas in which she is qualified to do so.” What does this mean? What is she qualified to answer? Were you there that day to attest that she was qualified to answer? (this seems a reasonable assumption.) And if you were, how is that different then an ordination? I add that Sarah Hurwitz herself does not claim that she can fulfill every task of a rabbi (make a minyan, sit on a beit din) so the word ordain is somewhat ill-defined in context. Rabbah is not simply the feminine of rabbi by her own terms.

    Nevertheless, if someone did not think they ordained someone else, person number 2 was pretty clearly not ordained. And clearly they should not have a website claiming otherwise when the matter is brought to their attention.

  128. Mazel tov to Dr. Schick!

  129. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    HAGTBG,

    She was “ordained” by Rabbi Avi Weiss and Rabbi Daniel Sperber. Search online and you will see that the Rabba ordination certificate was signed by the two of them.

    All I can say is that I taught her and tested her in Hilkhot Avelut. I know she is fully conversant in the classic sources through Shulhan Arukh and the nosei kelim in this area, and that she worked with other Rabbis to go through contemporary she’elot in this area as well.

    I also understand that other competent teachers have attested to her knowledge of Issur V’Heter and Dinei Taharat Hamishpacha.I have no reason to doubt that she is well prepared to respond to questions in this area as well, although I cannot attest to it firsthand.

    Finally, I know that she is humble enough not to attempt to answer questions that are outside of her field of expertise. She will ask a she’elah herself if need be.

    Does this clarify my statements any further?

  130. Shalom Rosenfeld

    Re: unpasteurized milk article: oy.

    “One of the advantages *sited* for goat’s milk …”
    -Do you mean “cited”, as in “quoted or referenced”? Or does this have to do with a specified location, i.e. a “site”?

    “anti-microbial bacteria naturally found in raw milk …”

    Um, bacteria are microbes. So these bacteria are suicidal?

    No pasteurization … no vaccinations … what kind of trend is this? Kol HaKavod to Rabbi Weinreb for taking a stance on this. If you’re in a community that doesn’t study 9th grade biology (nor the Tiferes Yisrael) I could almost understand it, but if you call yourself Modern/Centrist Orthodox by any definition … huh?!

  131. No hard feelings

    Rabbi Maroof, I think the problem is that you evidently have an idiosyncratic view which people can’t process. On the one hand, you’re not a fan of “Open Orthodoxy,” to the point where you will now condemn it using the H word. You claim that this isn’t really a departure from the view you always held. Fair enough. On the other hand, you believe a women can be a talmid hakham who is essentially הגיע להוראה. Putting aside the question of what on earth is the difference between being able to pasken and being a “rabbi,” the idea that a learned women can pasken as a concept, it seems, is a view *only* held by the “Open Orthdox” and yourself. So do you see why people can’t process you? No one gets the distinction you are trying to make over and over again. You are neither here nor there. It’s your right to be out of the box, but don’t expect anyone else who is not inside your own head to get what you are talking up, with all due respect.

    I say this not to make you feel bad or frustrated but to try to make you think about what it is that people don’t get. Maybe if you get what they don’t get, you can be more clear and people will understand where you are coming from.

  132. Nachum & Joseph — to note R. Maroof’s new information:

    “I taught her and tested her in Hilkhot Avelut. I know she is fully conversant in the classic sources through Shulhan Arukh and the nosei kelim in this area, and that she worked with other Rabbis to go through contemporary she’elot in this area as well.”

    Seems to confirm my theory of being charitable to all those involved. What is “ordination” if not “taught” and “tested”?

  133. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    IH,

    If you teach a course in halakha at a women’s seminary, and the course concludes with a test, does this mean you ordained the graduates? I don’t think so.

    No hard feelings,

    The Sefer Hachinuch and Pitchei Teshuva agree. I don’t think they were Open Orthodox.

    I agree that distinguishing between a rabbi and one who can answer halakhic questions is difficult. But I made the mistake of ignoring this distinction in comments to the media, and now I realize that the difference must indeed be emphasized.

    “Rabbi”, as understood in conventional parlance, encompasses much, much more than a heter horaah. Although sticking to straight Shulhan Arukh there might be no difference, in practice today there is. So using terms like “ordination” for women has led to misunderstandings and distortions on both sides of the debate.

  134. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    And I am not alone among contemporary Centrist Orthodox Rabbis in believing that women can give horaah. Many agree. Confusion sets in when we claim that this means women can be “rabbis”. It is a bad idea to conflate the two.

  135. R. Maroof — but, that is not what you did (i.e. teach a course in halacha at a women’s seminary) is it?

    I think “No hard feelings on August 12, 2011 at 11:57 am” sums it up well. Your story — which continues to dribble out — just doesn’t add up for me; and, it frankly feels disengenuous. But, I have no stake and will stop here. I am hopeful you find peace with the situation and wish you a Shabbat Shalom.

  136. No hard feelings

    >The Sefer Hachinuch and Pitchei Teshuva agree. I don’t think they were Open Orthodox.

    You’re the same one who wrote “Instead of a dispassionate and honest analysis of the traditional sources in light of the mesorah, founded on a conviction in their absolute truth, we find the “use” of an array of sources that, carefully organized, reach a predetermined objective or quell an inner “emotional discomfort” in the analyst.” only yesterday.

    In other words, so what if you have two sources? You’re arraying the sources to support your viewpoint. Maybe you felt no “inner discomfort” about women being excluded from learning and psak, but maybe you did. Only you know. But certainly women paskening is a hiddush, despite two sources.

    >And I am not alone among contemporary Centrist Orthodox Rabbis in believing that women can give horaah. Many agree.

    You can say it, but it seems like this is hardly the case. Do tell who?

    In any case, I spoke my piece. You do not seem to realize that you took the view of the Open Orthodox – or so it seems to, well, everyone – regarding women paskening she’elot. Considering the fact that ordination – semicha, a certificate – isn’t real and is basically an Ashkenazic custom, that seems to be minor, while psak is the big deal.

  137. I believe R. Aharon Rakeffet agrees that women can pasken (based on the Chinuch) but cannot be rabbis.

  138. MiMedinat HaYam

    mycroft on August 12, 2011 at 7:25 am
    Re Rabbi Zweibel and Agudah on reporting-assuming arguendo that R Zweibel’s position represents halacha-maybe one should be prohibited entering fields where Halacha contradicts legal requirements

    this brings up whole other story — perhaps a posting on this (i know, its been covered, but nothing recently. besides, you’ll ruffle too many feathers.)

    2. rabbi maroof — you think asking someone to remove something from her website (yeshiva maharat is a one person organization, lets face it) will do it?

    3. unpasteurized milk — did i read it that the cow goes to the mikva every morning?

    seriuosly, in my camp days (in the holy catskills) they served somehing called “golden flow country bottled milk”, with a disclaimer that it was not pasteurized, and only allowed to be sold in the mountains, not in nyc, and only for three (or so) days. it was VERY fresh, and VERY delicious. and i’m not one for health food / organic, etc. so kudos.

    chief rabbi — the reform want to take part in the british riots? (prob to destroy all remnants of orthodox observance in the lower class neighborhoods.)

  139. IH-In all seriousness, your continued queries along the line remind me of the query that an attorney for a witness asked the late Senator Joseph McCarthy-have you no decency?

  140. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    IH,

    Yes, to be honest, all I did was teach a course in Avelut to the participants in a women’s learning program. As the halakha teacher that first year of the program, I was invited back to speak at the ceremony a few years later. I am not sure I understand what you find so unclear in or disingenuous about the situation as I am presenting it.

    Rav Aharon Lichtenstein has said the same about women answering she’elot. I heard through the grapevine that Rav Aharon Soloveitchik Z”L said the same, but I cannot corroborate that. Many Sephardic poskim, including the Chida/Birkei Yosef, Rav Uziel Z”L and Rav Mordechai Eliyahu Z”L have explicitly written that it is permitted. It shouldn’t be controversial; in fact, the few sources that discuss it all agree that it is permitted. This is not a matter of twisting sources to fit an agenda. I realize people can disagree, but they would be hard pressed to find an explicit source to back them up.

  141. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    Mimedinat Hayam – what do you mean?

  142. Steve,
    In all seriousness, this last comment makes me think you have no idea what Sen. McCarthy was doing.

  143. MDJ-I am quite familiar with the excesses of the McCarthy era, as well as the issues raised therein by other more serious critics of the influence of Communism in America as of the 1950s. Senator McCarthy was engaged in baggering a witness to agree with his POV or admit that he was a liar.

  144. That was not atall what was going on when Welch confronted McCarthy. If you would like to refresh your memory, you can see here: http://americanrhetoric.com/speeches/welch-mccarthy.html
    Futhermore, IH was simply trying to get RJM to clarify his position, and haslaready bowed out or the discussion. I would add that I found RJM’s position confusing too, as did other commenters here.

  145. IH is spot on, I have been following this issue since the original Hurwitz “ordination”. Rabbi Maroof continues to generate many words on the topic, but since the controversy ensued he has refused to answer IH’s (and many, many others) simple question. Nor will he.

    THE QUESTION: R. Maroof: Is it your contention this statement is a lie?

    “After another five years of study under the auspices of Rabbi Avi Weiss, she was ordained by Rabbi Weiss, Rabbi Daniel Sperber and Rabbi Joshua Maroof.”

    “Yes” or “No”, please… He won’t answer with a simple yes or no, he never has and he never will.

  146. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    How long will you guys drag this on????

    “After another five years of study under the auspices of Rabbi Avi Weiss, she was ordained by Rabbi Weiss, Rabbi Daniel Sperber and Rabbi Joshua Maroof.”

    Is this statement true?

    NO, THIS STATEMENT IS NOT TRUE.

    I don’t use the word “lie”, because “lie” implies DELIBERATE fabrication on their part. I think there is a misunderstanding on their part rather than malicious intent in this case.

    But NO, THE STATEMENT IS NOT TRUE.

    Therefore, I have asked that it be removed.

    What is the difficulty here? Am I the only person confused by the inability or refusal of some commenters to understand what I am saying?

    I can’t imagine making a more unambiguous statement than I am making here.

  147. MDJ-thanks for the link, but IMO, the point was obvious-Welch confronted McCarthy over his badgering of a witness. In the discussion here, IMO, the inquiry not only was badgering, but bordered on calling R Maroof a liar-which IMO is beyond the point of discussion.

  148. “I think the problem is that you evidently have an idiosyncratic view which people can’t process”

    If anything, that is a problem not for Rabbi Maroof, but for the “people” who are incapable of processing.

  149. “After another five years of study under the auspices of Rabbi Avi Weiss, she was ordained by Rabbi Weiss, Rabbi Daniel Sperber and Rabbi Joshua Maroof.”
    Is this statement true?
    NO, THIS STATEMENT IS NOT TRUE.

    So, how did this statement come to be written? Was Rabbi Weiss confused about whether you were ordaining her or not? Or did he interpret your heter hora’ah as an ordination? (Which raises the questions what is the difference between publicly declaring someone fit to answer halachic questions, which you said you did, and ordaining, which you said you didn’t)

  150. Thank you Rabbi, I am sorry, I was wrong when I said you wouldn’t respond. You did respond to the question and it is much appreciated.

  151. Steve,
    the person being “badgered” was not even there! Welch was saying that McCarthy was ruining an innocent person’s life. Badgering had nothing to do with it.

  152. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    I would not consider myself qualified to “grant” a heter horaah or give semikha to anyone. All I can say is she demonstrated mastery of the area that I taught her, and I am confident that she would answer questions in that area properly and/or would consult someone else if unsure. That is my personal judgment and opinion, and does not constitute the granting of heter horaah or ordination.

    My understanding was that R’ Weiss was giving her a heter horaah either through his institution or as an individual. In doing so, I realized that he was, in part, relying upon my assessment of her knowledge of Hilkhot Avelut, as well as upon the assessments of other rabbis who taught her the majority of her knowledge in the ensuing years. But it was his ordination, as far as I understood.

    Apparently he looked at it differently and credited me with the ordination. I don’t think he was intentionally throwing me under the proverbial bus.

    Think about it. If you knew someone who was a tremendous בקי in an area of halakha, and you considered him a trustworthy address for questions about that area, would acknowledging that be giving him a heter horaah? I don’t think so.

  153. R. Maroof,
    Did you sign the certificate given to Sara Hurwitz that day?
    (The unsigned version is at the end of this PDF, for those who are interested: http://www.hir.org/forms_2008/Complete_Sara_Hurwitz.pdf )

  154. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    MDJ,

    No, absolutely not.

  155. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    Please check this link to see who, in fact, signed the final certificate:

    http://morethodoxy.org/2010/01/28/mahara%E2%80%9Dt-to-rabba/

  156. In that case, I think it is hard to say that you ordained her.

  157. With all due respect, R. Maroof, that link is not to the point. The question isn’t whether you approved the change in title to Rabbah, but whether you ordained her as a Maharat. That is why I asked about the certificate that she got on the day of her original ordination, linked to above, the day you came to speak in Riverdale. Is that the certificate you were talking about when you responded to me above, or were you talking about the Rabbah certificate.

  158. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    No kidding. So how do you think I feel having so many people tell me that I did, and being dragged through the mud of blogs and websites unfairly???

  159. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    I never signed ANY certificate of any kind.

  160. Rabbi Joshua Maroof

    Now can you see why this whole controversy has been unjustly driving me crazy?

  161. While I think Steve, in bringing up McCarthy and Joe Welch, has gone, not surprisingly, inappropriately over-the-top, I think that many commentators at this point are being unfair to R. Maroof. He has made his position eminently clear. He did not ordain Rabba Hurwitz; he did not sign any ordination certificate; any statement to the contrary is not correct; he has tried to correct such an incorrect statement; he believes that she can answer certain halachic questions because he has personal knowledge of her knowledge. He has, as many have not, willingly participated in this discussion. I don’t know him and while I do not agree with his post on shelo asaini isha I admire and respect the way he has handled himself here.

  162. “There is no doubt that Christian and Muslim religious thought have nested themselves into certain Jewish communities. Some of the most ‘religious’ Jewish groups, resemble the surrounding religion more than they do the Talmud or Torah”

    aGREED

  163. What is the reason for Ari Goldman to disclose what he is writing now?

  164. MYCROFT:

    “What is the reason for Ari Goldman to disclose what he is writing now?”

    burden of guilt? teshuvah?

  165. ” Senator McCarthy”

    Sen. McCarthy was himself a huge liar, and he did huge damage to the anti-communist cause.

  166. Re Matzah request by inmate-it is clearthat US is not required to do much at all to make affirmative provisions for inmates.

  167. Abba’s Rantings on August 14, 2011 at 2:03 am
    “MYCROFT:

    “What is the reason for Ari Goldman to disclose what he is writing now?”

    burden of guilt? teshuvah?”
    No longer needs the Times?

  168. Ari hasn’t needed the Times for years. My answer to the question would simply be “honesty.”

  169. “Sen. McCarthy was himself a huge liar, and he did huge damage to the anti-communist cause.”

    Funny, he (and the bigger “villian,” HUAC) was right about most everything and did a good job reducing Communist influence.

  170. “Joseph Kaplan on August 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm
    Ari hasn’t needed the Times for years. My answer to the question would simply be “honesty.””

    Not thatthe subject is worth discussing but I think I recall an article written by R D M Wohlgerlenter (the Reb in YC parlance) over a decade ago about A Goldman. Does anyone with a good memory remember it

  171. lawrence kaplan

    Mycroft: Actually, I do remember the article of the “Reb” (who was my teacher). I think it appeared in Tradition. It was about Goldman’s memoir.

    My memory for events long past seems fine. It’s about what happened recently that it’s not so good. For the life of me, I can’t recall what movie I saw two weeks ago.

  172. “My memory for events long past seems fine. It’s about what happened recently that it’s not so good. For the life of me, I can’t recall what movie I saw two weeks ago”

    You’re better than I am_I can’t remember the last movie I saw/

  173. ‘he (and the bigger “villian,” HUAC) was right about most everything’

    He never did come up with the names for any of his infamous lists of communists.

    He claimed that the fall of China to the Communists had been the work of Soviet spies in the State Department. Sen. Millard Tydings, a right wing Senator who had opposed FDRs New Deal (and who had been the very first Senator to speak about against the Nazis, way back in 1934), launched an investigation. When Sen. Tydings’ committee determined (correctly) that the charge was a hoax, McCarthy’s staff doctored a photograph to show Tydings meeting with notorious Communist leader Earl Browder. The fake photograph cost Tydings his re-election.

    McCarthy did not distinguish between real communists and people who just happened to be working for an agency he wished to target. Motzi shem ra was McCarthy’s game; there was never any regard for the factual accuracy of the allegations. McCarthy helped make anticommunist a laughingstock among sensible people who had no interest in supporting totalitarianism. He deserved the disgrace to which he fell.

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